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Uncharted Territory

自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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グローバルを小馬鹿にするな

 
水問題の現状を伝えてくれる記事がFortuneにありました。少し長いですが、世界での水の値段を比較した世界地図は必見です。グローバル化と聞くとすぐ小馬鹿にするような雰囲気もありますが、看過できないグローバル化している問題はあるんですよね。英語教師には世界情勢にまったく興味がないサブカル系、スポーツ系が多いので仕方がないんですが。。。

What is water worth?
May 1, 2014: 7:00 AM ET
Farmland is parched. Companies are worried. The global demand for water will soon outstrip supply. What's the solution? Simple, say some business leaders and economists: Make people pay more for the most precious commodity on earth.
By Brian Dumaine, senior editor-at-large

具体例としてWoolfさんというカリフォルニアの農家が取り上げられています。水不足のため半分の農地しか使えないそうです。

Woolf, a third-generation farmer, grows tomatoes, onions, and garlic that typically end up as ketchup, salsa, and other products made by Heinz, P&G, and other big names in the food industry. Her choice was to farm only half of her land. "Customers are asking for our produce," she says, "but we can't deliver because we don't have the water." Officials say that more than 500,000 acres of otherwise rich, arable land in Central Valley will likely be left fallow this year. Acres of fruit and nut trees will die from lack of water. And in keeping with the laws of supply and demand, food prices have already risen.

Customers are asking for our produceという農家のコメントはTOEIC学習者ならproduce=農産物となりますね。直前にWoolf, a third-generation farmer, grows tomatoes, onions, and garlicとあるので、produceが農産物であることは想像できますが。。。最後のthe laws of supply and demandという部分も「需要と供給の法則」は英語だとsupplyが先になっています。実例にたくさん触れて実感する作業はとても重要なことだと思います。

水不足が慢性的な問題になるにつれて、あらゆる業種に影響を及ぼす問題となりつつあると警鐘をならします。

"We've always thought about how water was important for beverages or chemicals," Goldman Sachs (GS) senior investment strategist Abby Joseph Cohen tells Fortune. "But how many other industries depend on water in the supply chain, for their workforce and production and to maintain a healthy environment around where they're operating?"

The answer may be virtually all of them. Which is why legions of business leaders, economists, and think-tankers are coming to reclassify water as a kind of buried treasure: "blue gold." Willem Buiter, Citigroup's chief economist, sums up the thinking of many these days: "Water as an asset class, in my view, will eventually become the single most important physical commodity -- dwarfing oil, copper, agricultural commodities, and precious metals."

世界の水の値段の比較は必見です。

現在は水が無料で手に入るので、市場メカニズムを使うことを提唱する人がいるそうです。Let the invisible hand do its job, and water prices will rise, demand will fall…と市場メカニズムをthe invisible handというおなじみの比喩で表現しています。

One could argue that the answer to water scarcity is simple: Let water's price swim closer to its value. Let the invisible hand do its job, and water prices will rise, demand will fall, and this precious resource will be saved. If water's price were truly reflective of its value, the argument goes, investors would pour in capital for projects ranging from desalination plants to gray-water recycling systems to repairs on leaky municipal water pipes. These would help us increase the global supply of freshwater as the world's population soars.

水は生存に直結する問題であるため、市場メカニズムだけに任せられないという声がすぐにあがるでしょう。ですから生存に必要なものと市場メカニズムに任せるものとの2段階にすることを提案しているようです。

But supporters of the idea say you can have both human protections and Adam Smith: Preserve a certain amount of water for everyone for free (or at almost no cost) and have a mostly free market for the rest. "Water needed for drinking, cooking, and basic hygiene as a basis for survival must be available even for a person unable to pay," wrote Nestlé chairman Brabeck-Letmathe on his blog. But "there must be limits: Water to fill a private swimming pool or to wash a car, for instance, is not a free public good; rather, it should be a normal commercial good covering at least the full cost of infrastructure, not subsidized or even distributed for free."

水を市場商品として扱うには、大きく2つの問題があるそうです。一つは政治が介入しやすいこと、もう一つは運搬に費用がかかり大変な事です。

It may be a $600-billion-a-year industry, but companies have had a tough time making money in it. In fact Siemens (SI) last year pulled out of the water business. Says Goldman's Cohen: "There's no market price for water. Decisions are made by politicians on how water should be priced, which makes doing business tough."

One challenge with investing in water is that there's no global market for it as there is with oil, copper, and other commodities. The reason? It's expensive and difficult to transport. China is in the midst of building an aqueduct to move water from the Yangtze River, in the south of the country, to the water-starved north. Some 2,700 miles long, it is expected to be one of the most expensive civil-engineering projects in history. The price tag? Upwards of $60 billion.

記事の最後には再びカリフォルニア農家に戻りますが、地下水も枯渇していて明るい見通しは今のところないようです。

Back in the Central Valley, the land is still parched, even after some late-April rains. And the ground is sinking under Sarah Woolf 's feet. It is the result of sucking out water from her own property wells. Her family began using well water some decades ago, but after a while there was a problem. In a classic case of the tragedy of the commons, they and other farmers in the area were drawing so much water from the aquifer that the soil started dropping about a foot a year. Since the 1930s, the ground level at her farm has dropped 80 feet. "You're depleting a natural water source that can be replenished only if you take small amounts out," explains Woolf. "If you take water out fast, the pockets in the aqueduct that hold the water collapse and you can never get that aquifer back." Furthering the destructive cycle, the sinking ground plays havoc on the wells themselves, which can cost half-a-million dollars each to dig. Woolf has three on her farm.

このパラグラフではtragedy of the commons(コモンズの悲劇)がさらっと登場しています。

(Wikipedia)
The tragedy of the commons is an economics theory by Garrett Hardin, according to which individuals, acting independently and rationally according to each one's self-interest, behave contrary to the whole group's long-term best interests by depleting some common resource. The concept is often cited in connection with sustainable development, meshing economic growth and environmental protection, as well as in the debate over global warming. "Commons" can include the atmosphere, oceans, rivers, fish stocks, national parks and any other shared resource. The tragedy of the commons has particular relevance in analyzing behavior in the fields of economics, evolutionary psychology, anthropology, game theory, politics, taxation, and sociology. Some also see the "tragedy" as an example of emergent behavior, the outcome of individual interactions in a complex system.


英語でたくさん読むようにして、いろいろな実例や概念に触れることが脱資格試験で必要なことでしょう。
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